Herts taxpayers will have to foot the bill of policing the secretive Bilderberg conference of top politicians and businesspeople after the Home Office refused to part-fund the operation.
Protesters camped outside of the Grove Hotel in Watford when it hosted the four-day event in June last year.
It was the first time the event had been held in Britain since 1998 and maintaining order during that time cost a total of £990,000. Although organisers contributed £462,000 towards this, Herts Police had to shell out for the remaining £528,000.
Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd says he is ‘disappointed’ and would rather have spent that money for elsewhere - but that it will cause no immediate problems.
The 130 delegates arriving in cars with blacked-out windows included Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Eric Schmidt of Google, as well as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Many members of royal families are also thought to have been on the guest list.
Conspiracy theorists say they use the gathering to plot world domination.
Politicians at the time said it was ‘outrageous’ that Herts taxpayers should have to fund a meeting of the most wealthy people in the world.
Herts Police had applied for a Special Grant from the Home Office to contribute towards their costs. But it was declined.
The Home Office explained that Special Grant funding is only available where necessary additional expenditure incurred would create a serious threat to financial stability of a force and its capacity to deliver normal policing.
They advised that a Special Grant will usually only be considered once the costs reach one per cent of the force budget and that forces are generally expected to meet one-off exceptional spends below this level from their own reserves.
The cost of policing the event fell short of the one per cent threshold - £1.8 million - and was not assessed as bearing a risk to the force’s financial stability or capacity to deliver policing.
Mr Lloyd said: “Along with all other police forces in the country Hertfordshire Constabulary has a core policing duty to prevent crime, maintain the Queen’s peace, protect the public and prevent damage to property.
“The Bilderberg conference was an exceptional policing challenge that was very successfully policed by the constabulary with several thousand protesters attending over the period of the event.
“The constabulary fulfilled their legal responsibilities and ensured that the event took place peacefully with the minimum of disruption to Hertfordshire’s public and businesses.
“I am disappointed that the Home Office has turned down our grant application though I understand the Home Office’s criteria.
“Fortunately, our sound financial management means that this decision does not cause us immediate problems or require us to make further immediate savings on policing.
“Ultimately, this money will come from our reserves and I would have wanted to have this money available for other policing purposes in the county.”